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Getting Real

I’m naturally introspective, and as an extrovert, I’m also hardwired to share those thoughts with others. I’ll bare my soul to any stranger interested in engaging in conversation. These essays are a digital form of those long-winded, furrow-browed, intensely-honest talks that lead me to a better understanding of myself and the world around.

Why I’m Adamant that Everyone Should Travel

What I'm Adamant Everyone Should Travel

I’m really passionate about the idea that everyone should travel.

Now that Tyler and I are on the road full time, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about why travel is so important to us. Why we’re leaving everything behind to live out of backpacks, sleep on different beds each month, pinch pennies, and never eat my desired amount of milkshakes.

Ok, so the milkshake thing might be a stretch. No one needs as many milkshakes as I desire.

But despite all of the above, I still think everyone should travel for so many reasons.

Let’s talk about why!

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National Adoption Month

As we near the end of the month, I’m sure almost everyone has encountered the phrase “National Adoption Month” floating around the internet. Can you believe it’s the 20th year our country has been commemorating it?! We’re excited for the exposure that adoption receives during November, and we hope you’ve somehow been inspired, convicted, or at the very least moved to curiosity.

We’ve written plenty here about our own plans for the future, including adoption. If you read our goals for 2015, you would see that even though our focus now is on our current mobile lifestyle as a couple, we are already looking ahead to our next life stage. The expansion of our family may be on the back burner, but we’re still keeping the flame on through lots of thoughtful conversation.

Today, we wanted to invite you into that conversation in a small way by sharing why we feel so strongly about the adoption topic and sharing some of the articles or resources we’ve come across lately.

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On walking with friends through the darkest valley

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
 for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”

Psalm 23

The last twenty-four hours have been truly draining for us as a couple and as a part of a larger family. Cliches like being “put through the wringer” suddenly ring true in a way that you wouldn’t normally understand so corporeally. At this very moment, my body aches more than my heart, as my mind is dulled from lack of sleep and spent emotions.

Yesterday afternoon, one of my dearest and oldest friends delivered a beautiful, perfect little girl. The medical world might not apply the label of “perfect”, what with tiny organs barely functioning at 31 weeks and a grim prognosis from months prior, but we think she was perfect. And no one would deny she was beautiful. A full head of dark hair and perfectly formed fingers and toes, nails and all. A perfect little nose and bright brown eyes. Perfect.

Our little angel fought hard all night, and our Alaskan family gathered around and we embraced each other, physically and spiritually, willing this new family of three to keep on surviving. Tyler stayed up all night watching over our baby girl, a miracle in itself if you remember his aversion to any tools of modern medicine. Her parents, exhausted beyond my imagination, caught a couple hours of desperately needed sleep, gathering the energy to face a new day. They were so strong and so steady.

This morning, after a brave long night, Jesus saw fit to return our sweet baby to His arms. She is now more perfect than ever. Now she can dance in fields of sunflowers, as we received in a vision the Lord gave to a friend.

The parents are resting in God’s promise that He is good and His will is perfect. The beauty of Christianity is in the tension, and here we see it so clearly. Broken yet at peace. Mourning yet not despairing. Longing yet thankful. These two friends of ours have been the perfect parents to their baby girl. They were exactly who and what she needed during her life here. They will always be her parents, and she is their firstborn. We are so honored to be with them during this long trek through the valley of the shadow of death, the darkest valley. We loved meeting our beautiful niece– by heart if not blood– and we dream of her joy in heaven tonight.

As you think of us and our Alaskan family here, please be in prayer. We’re not out of the valley yet.

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On Being a College Graduate Working a Part-time Job

On being a college graduate working a part time job (underemployed)

I can still remember the moment I was standing at the bakery counter this summer chatting with a coworker and I realized that she was 10 years younger than me. 10 years! That’s a decade! It might not seem like a big deal when you’re in, say, your 40’s… at that point I would imagine it all kind of evens out. But when you have a freshly printed college degree and a few years of work experience under your belt, and you find yourself working in the same role as kids who are looking forward to their junior prom, it becomes just a little concerning.

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Confessions: on failing the early rise

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Tyler and I have been aiming to follow this particular piece of sage advice, if only to claim that first wonderful benefit, for the last couple of months. Seems like a simple concept. Most days of the week, a quite early rise is no problem… we have to be up or we are late for work. But I have this tricky little blessing in disguise– (or is it the other way around? curse in disguise?)– of not having to go to work Sunday through Tuesday, so I can get up whenever I want.

Every week, I make a new resolution to get up before dawn with Tyler, whether or not I have to be heading out the door in the next half hour. So far, no good. I do get up and out of bed by 8:30, which never would have counted as sleeping in before, but by that time I’ve already begun a long domino-like demise of “it’s too late to start such and such, so why even begin?” And there goes my morning! And then by noon it’s time for lunch, and then after lunch Tyler is almost home, and then Tyler is home and we’re busy running errands and going for walks and fixing dinner. And then it’s evening and why even bother starting my super long to-do list when it’s already evening?!

Alas. I’ve been unproductive again.

Today, I’ll have cleaned the house thoroughly, done some computer work, written a blog post (this one!), and then run all those errands with Tyler that I already mentioned. And I find that to be a semi-success! We have our couples’ small group tonight so  this evening will likely not provide more accomplishment, but I’m okay with that. Small steps. Next week I might actually get up an hour earlier and fit in one more thing.

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On Being A Yes Man

It’s been kind of surprising to us how often we’ve been asked for our “Alaska bucket list” upon first meeting people here in Anchorage. It must be a thing up here. Which makes sense, since I think a lot of residents have come up from the lower 48 to seek adventure.

However, we haven’t made a bucket list. And we don’t intend to.

Instead, we have decided to be “yes men”. We want to be up for any challenge, any invitation. We want to spend these years of travel truly soaking up every opportunity to experience new things, and Alaska is our first run at this. If you remember my life mission statement, you can surmise with me how saying yes to each suggestion will allow me to see the world, to know humanity, and perhaps even to see the reality of God. (I mean, the mountains here. The majesty points to their creator!)

So, that’s our answer to people when they ask for our bucket list. I’m not sure if it sounds lame, like a cop-out, or genius! But it’s the plan. Yes-men-Murph-mans!

And although I almost feel it goes without saying, I do still want to say that obviously there are limits to our compliance. (I read once that before you embark on the “say yes” thing, you have to have a firm list of “hell no’s”. Hilarious, but true.) So, we will not be endangering ourselves. And we will be setting boundaries to protect our time alone, and together. The goal is the full experience, after all.